THR's Summer Box Office Award

6:00 AM PST 09/04/2012 by Pamela McClintock

Superheroes soared, movie stars struggled and a trash-talking bear battled Channing Tatum's abs as a dip in overall grosses puts Hollywood on edge.

Labor Day bought sobering news for Holly- wood: Summer movie­going in North America was at its lowest level in at least 20 years, while revenue ($4.27 billion) was down 3 percent from a record $4.4 billion in 2011. Here's a look at what worked and what didn't (grosses are worldwide).

Biggest Tentpoles: Disney/Marvel's The Avengers ($1.5 billion), Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight Rises ($1.01 billion) and Fox's Ice Age: Continental Drift ($832.4 million) are minting cash. Runner-up: Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man ($735.3 million).

Biggest Cause for Concern: Restarting a dormant franchise produced so-so results for Prometheus ($355.9 million), though Fox is pursuing a sequel. Less certain are follow-ups to The Bourne Legacy ($159.6 million) and Total Recall ($155.7 million). Men in Black 3 earned much more ($623 million) but cost $300 million-plus to make and market.

Biggest Surprise: Seth MacFarlane's R-rated comedy Ted ($384.5 million) turned into a new franchise. Runners-up: U.K. dramedy The Best Marigold Exotic Hotel ($134 million), quirky art house pic Moonrise Kingdom ($59.4 million).

Biggest Star-Driven Flameouts: Tom Cruise's Rock of Ages ($50.1 million), Adam Sandler's That's My Boy ($49.5 million) and the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn comedy The Watch ($43.6 million) proved stars don't guarantee grosses.

Best Foreign Traveler: Step Up Revolution ($95.8 million) was forgotten in the U.S. ($34.2 million) but was a hit in much of Asia and in Russia, where it earned $8.3 million. Snow White and the Huntsman ($394.1 million) played throughout the summer overseas and earned $239 million internationally.

Worst Foreign Traveler: Concert documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me ($31.9 million) grossed $6.6 million overseas despite her global fan base.

Most Topical Hits: The presidential race has driven moviegoers to two very different films: raunchy comedy The Campaign ($74.8 million) and the anti-Barack Obama documentary 2016: Obama's America ($20.6 million).

Most Topical Misfire: Sacha Baron Cohen's $100 million-budgeted The Dictator ($175 million) was a decided bust with U.S. audiences, earning only $59.7 million compared with Bruno's $128.5 million in North America.

Biggest Vampire Disappointments: Dark Shadows ($236.5 million) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ($91.3 million) underperformed, particularly domestically, where they petered out at $79.7 million and $37.5 million, respectively.

The Sex and the City Award: Channing Tatum's Magic Mike ($113.2 million) created a new franchise thanks to women and gays.

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